The Story of Charley, a cowboy's horse
This story comes from J. Frank Dobie's book, "The Mustangs", Castle Books, 1952. It concerns a cowboy named George Catlin and his horse, Charley:
"In the middle of the night, only half awake, I became concious of a form standing over me. At first I took it to be an Indian about to perform the scalping operation. The feeling of horror fully awoke me and then I saw Charley, his forefeet at the edge of my bearskin bed, his head hanging directly over me, while he stood fast asleep. Whether he had come close to me from affection or from fear or from a mixture of both feelings, I do not know. I slept very soundly until sunrise.
"Charley was off a considerable distance grazing. After breakfasting, I confidently took the rope to catch him. He seemed to enjoy tantalizing me by turning around and around, always just out of reach. Remembering his attachment for me shown during the night, I decided to try an experiment. I packed up my things, slung the saddle over my back, and, trailing my rifle, started off. After going a few hundred yards, I looked back and saw Charley standing with head and tail very high, gazing first at me and then at the campfire, still sending up a little smoke. I walked on. Looking again, I saw him walking hurriedly to the camp site. There he began to neigh violently and soon broke for me, running at full speed. He passed me few paces, wheeled and stood facing me, trembling like an aspen leaf.
"I called him by name and walked up to him with bridle in hand. He lowered his head to receive it. He actually stooped to receive the saddle. As we travelled on, he seemed to be as contented with our reunion as I was."
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copyright ©2003 Michael D. Breed, all rights reserved, Castle Books gives permission to quote passages of fewer than 500 words (see flyleaf of book).